By: Strauss K
With the exception of Mac OS X Server 1.0 and the original public beta, Mac OS X versions are named after big cats. Prior to its release, version 10.0 was code named "Cheetah" internally at Apple, and version 10.1 was code named internally as "Puma". After the immense buzz surrounding version 10.2, codenamed "Jaguar", Apple's product marketing began openly using the code names to promote the operating system. 10.3 was marketed as "Panther", 10.4 as "Tiger", 10.5 as "Leopard", the current version 10.6 as "Snow Leopard", and the upcoming 10.7 as "Lion". "Panther", "Tiger" and "Leopard" are registered as trademarks of Apple, but "Cheetah", "Puma" and "Jaguar" have never been registered. Apple has also registered "Lynx" and "Cougar" as trademarks, though these were allowed to
lapse. Computer retailer Tiger Direct sued Apple for its use of the name "Tiger". On May 16, 2005 a US federal court in the Southern District of Florida ruled that Apple's use does not infringe on Tiger Direct's trademark.
Public Beta: "Kodiak"
On September 13, 2000 Apple released a $29.95 "preview" version of Mac OS X (internally codenamed Kodiak) in order to gain feedback from users,
The "PB" as it was known marked the first public availability of the Aqua interface and Apple made many changes to the UI based on customer feedback. Mac OS X Public Beta expired and ceased to function in Spring 2001.
Version 10.0: "Cheetah"
On March 24, 2001, Apple released Mac OS X v10.0 (internally codenamed Cheetah). The initial version was slow, incomplete, and had very few applications available at the time of its launch, mostly from independent developers. While many critics suggested that the operating system was not ready for mainstream adoption, they recognized the importance of its initial launch as a base on which to improve. Simply releasing Mac OS X was received by the Macintosh community as a great accomplishment, for attempts to completely overhaul the Mac OS had been underway since 1996, and delayed by countless setbacks. Following some bug fixes, kernel panics became much less frequent.
Version 10.1: "Puma"
Later that year on September 25, 2001, Mac OS X v10.1 (internally codenamed Puma) was released. It had better performance and provided missing features, such as DVD playback. Apple released 10.1 as a free upgrade CD for 10.0 users, in addition to the US$129 boxed version for people running Mac OS 9. It was discovered that the upgrade CDs were full install CDs that could be used with Mac OS 9 systems by removing a specific file; Apple later re-released the CDs in an actual stripped-down format that did not facilitate installation on such systems. On January 7, 2002, Apple announced that Mac OS X was to be the default operating system for all Macintosh products by the end of that month.
Version 10.2: "Jaguar"
On August 23, 2002, Apple followed up with Mac OS X v10.2 "Jaguar", the first release to use its code name as part of the branding. It brought great performance enhancements, a sleeker look, and many powerful enhancements (over 150, according to Apple ), including Quartz Extreme for compositing graphics directly on an ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce2 MX AGP-based video card with at least 16 MB of VRAM, a system-wide repository for contact information in the new Address Book, and an instant messaging client named iChat. The Happy Mac which had appeared during the Mac OS startup sequence for almost 18 years was replaced with a large grey Apple logo with the introduction of Mac OS X v10.2.
Version 10.3: "Panther"
Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" was released on October 24, 2003. In addition to providing much improved performance, it also incorporated the most extensive update yet to the user interface. Panther included as many or more new features as Jaguar had the year before, including an updated Finder, incorporating a brushed-metal interface, Fast user switching, ExposÃ© (Window manager), FileVault, Safari, iChat AV (which added videoconferencing features to iChat), improved Portable Document Format (PDF) rendering and much greater Microsoft Windows interoperability. Support for some early G3 computers such as "beige" Power Macs and "WallStreet" PowerBooks was discontinued.
Version 10.4: "Tiger"
Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" was released on April 29, 2005. Apple stated that Tiger contained more than 150+ new features. As with Panther, certain older machines were no longer supported; Tiger requires a Mac with a built-in FireWire port. Among the new features, Tiger introduced Spotlight, Dashboard, Smart Folders, updated Mail program with Smart Mailboxes, QuickTime 7, Safari 2, Automator, VoiceOver, Core Image and Core Video. The initial release of the Apple TV used a modified version of Tiger with a different graphical interface and fewer applications and services. On January 10, 2006, Apple released the first Intel-based Macs along with the 10.4.4 update to Tiger. This operating system functioned identically on the PowerPC-based Macs and the new Intel-based machines, with the exception of the Intel release dropping support for the Classic environment. Only PowerPC Macs can be booted from retail copies of the Tiger client DVD, but there is a Universal DVD of Tiger Server 10.4.7 (8K1079) that can boot both PowerPC and Intel Macs.
Version 10.5: "Leopard"
Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard" was released on October 26, 2007. It was called by Apple "the largest update of Mac OS X". It brought more than 300 new features. Leopard supports both PowerPC- and Intel x86-based Macintosh computers; support for the G3 processor was dropped and the G4 processor required a minimum clock rate of 867 MHz, and at least 512 MB of RAM to be installed. The single DVD works for all supported Macs (including 64-bit machines). New features include a new look, an updated Finder, Time Machine, Spaces, Boot Camp pre-installed, full support for 64-bit applications (including graphical applications), new features in Mail and iChat, and a number of new security features. Leopard is an Open Brand UNIX 03 registered product on the Intel platform. It was also the first BSD-based OS to receive UNIX 03 certification. Leopard dropped support for the Classic Environment and all Classic applications.
It was the final version of Mac OS X to support the PowerPC architecture.
Version 10.6: "Snow Leopard"
Mac OS X v10.6 "Snow Leopard" was released on August 28, 2009. Rather than delivering big changes to the appearance and end user functionality like the previous releases of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard focuses on "under the hood" changes, increasing the performance, efficiency, and stability of the operating system. For most users, the most noticeable changes are: the disk space that the operating system frees up after a clean install compared to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, a more responsive Finder rewritten in Cocoa, faster Time Machine backups, more reliable and user friendly disk ejects, a more powerful version of the Preview application, as well as a faster Safari web browser.
Mac OS X v10.6 also features Microsoft Exchange Server support for Mail, iCal, and Address Book, new 64-bit technology capable of supporting greater amounts of RAM, an all new QuickTime X with a refreshed user interface and more functionality that used to be only available to QuickTime Pro owners.
Back-end platform changes include improved support for multi-core processors through Grand Central Dispatch which attempts to ease the development of applications with multi-core support, and thus improve their CPU utilization. It used to be that developers needed to code their programs in such a way that their software would explicitly take advantage of the multiple cores, which could easily become a tedious and troublesome task, especially in complex software. It also includes advanced GPU performance with OpenCL (a cross platform open standard for GPGPU distinct from CUDA, Dx11 Compute Shader or STREAM) by providing support to offload work normally only destined for a CPU to the graphic card's GPU. This can be especially useful in tasks that can be heavily parallelized.
Snow Leopard only supports machines with Intel CPUs, requires at least 1 GB of RAM, and drops default support for applications built for the PowerPC architecture (Rosetta can be installed as an additional component to retain support for PowerPC-only applications).
Version 10.7: "Lion"
A preview of Mac OS X v10.7 "Lion" was publicly unveiled at Apple's "Back to the Mac" event on October 20, 2010. It will include support for the Mac App Store, and will bring many other developments made in Apple's iOS, such as an easily-navigable display of installed applications, to the Mac. It is scheduled to be released in the (Northern Hemisphere) summer of 2011.
Changes made to the GUI (Graphical User Interface) include the Launchpad (similar to the home screen of iOS devices), auto-hiding scrollbars that only appear when they are being used, and Mission Control, which unifies ExposÃ©, Spaces, Dashboard, and full-screen applications within a single interface. Apple also made changes to applications: they resume in the same state as they were before they were closed (similar to iOS). Because of this, the Dock no longer visually indicates whether an app is currently running or not. In addition to this, documents auto-save by default so users don't have to worry about manually managing their documents.
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